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Buemi storms to pole position in Berlin

Sebastien Buemi has taken his first pole position since Santiago after a dominant Super Pole lap which saw him four tenths faster than anyone else.

Group one saw the top five in the championship in action, formed of reigning champion and current points leader Jean-Eric Vergne, teammate Andre Lotterer, Robin Frijns, Antonio Felix da Costa and Lucas di Grassi.

No one wanted to be the first onto the track with practice having taken place yesterday, but eventually it was Vergne who broke the silence and ventured out onto the Tempelhof circuit.

It looked like time was going to be tight with the drivers leaving it so late to begin their laps. After di Grassi appeared slow through the final sector the DS Techeetahs got held up with the loss of time proving critical for Lotterer, who was less than ten metres from starting his lap when the chequered flag came out.

The German was convinced he had started his lap in time, but the replays proved otherwise and his banker lap stood on the timing screens.

The remainder of the group were able to complete their 250kW laps, with di Grassi topping the session ahead of da Costa by a slender margin of 0.087s.

Frijns didn’t enjoy the best lap of his career after an issue with his car and was almost a second off the pace.

After group one

1) di Grassi 1:07.926s
2) da Costa +0.087s
3) Vergne +0.120s
4) Frijns +0.993s
5) Lotterer +4.642s

The second group was formed of positions six to ten in the championship: Mitch Evans, Jerome d’Ambrosio, Oliver Rowland, Daniel Abt and Sam Bird.

The star of the group was Abt, looking to continue his strong form from last year which saw him dominate the event from pole position. The German lapped 0.027s slower than his teammate to provisionally give Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler a 1-2, much to the excitement of the local crowd.

d’Ambrosio and Rowland also provisionally booked their places in Super Pole, while Bird and Evans could only manage seventh and eighth respectively.

After group two

1) di Grassi 1:07.926s
2) Abt +0.027s
3) da Costa +0.087s
4) Vergne +0.120s
5) d’Ambrosio +0.139s
6) Rowland +0.193s

The third group consisted of Edoardo Mortara, Pascal Wehrlein, Buemi, Felipe Massa, Stoffel Vandoorne and Alexander Sims.

Carrying on his usual trend, Sims decided to head straight out onto the circuit and managed to complete his flying lap before the rest of the group had started their banker laps.

The BMW i Andretti driver, looking to score a good result after a run of bad luck, put in a stellar lap to provisionally book a place in Super Pole as he went faster than the Audi duo, but was soon outdone as Buemi set a new benchmark time.

Buemi’s time at the top didn’t last long as Vandoorne set a purple first sector en route to the fastest time, beating Buemi’s time by 0.006s.

It was double disappointment for Venturi after showing excellent pace in practice, as Mortara could only manage a time good enough for provisional P12, while Massa whacked the wall twice on his 250kW lap and ended seven tenths off Vandoorne’s time.

A favourite for Super Pole, Wehrlein couldn’t quite get the job done and put his Mahindra Racing provisionally ninth, just shy of his teammate d’Ambrosio’s time.

After group three

1) Vandoorne 1:07.619s
2) Buemi +0.006s
3) Sims +0.109s
4) di Grassi +0.307s
5) Abt +0.334s
6) da Costa +0.394s

The fourth and final group was comprised of the bottom six drivers in the championship: Maximilian Günther, Gary Paffett, Oliver Turvey, Alex Lynn, Jose Maria Lopez and Tom Dillmann.

Much was expected of Günther at his home event, having already enjoyed a Super Pole appearance in Rome, but the German endured a scruffy lap to put his GEOX Dragon 15th on the grid, while teammate Lopez also disappointed with an unspectacular run to 20th.

A stellar lap from Lynn saw his put his Panasonic Jaguar Racing into Super Pole for the first time this season, but an even better lap from Paffett meant both HWA Racelabs finished in the top six and advanced to Super Pole.

There wasn’t much to write home about for NIO, as Turvey ended qualifying in 14th while Dillmann was left lingering in 17th.

After group four

1) Vandoorne 1:07.619s
2) Buemi +0.006s
3) Sims +0.109s
4) Paffett +0.258s
5) Lynn +0.301s
6) di Grassi +0.307s

With Super Pole left to run, di Grassi set off looking for his first pole position since Montreal in season three. The Brazilian was off the pace in sector one, but a mega run through the final sector gave him a highly respectable 1:07.719s.

Lynn, only one of two drivers to take pole on debut (with the exception of the first ever Formula E race), went purple in sector one but couldn’t live up to the billing of di Grassi’s storming final sector and missed out on provisional pole by 0.130s.

Paffett was up next with the aim of taking his maiden pole position in only his second Super Pole appearance. A solid lap for the reigning Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters champion saw him split di Grassi and Lynn with a 1:07.783s and provisionally take second.

Sims was hoping for a strong result to get his season back on track, but an error in the first sector put him on the back foot and he ended slowest of the session.

Buemi then undoubtedly put in the lap of the weekend as he threw his Nissan e.dams around the Berlin Tempelhof circuit and smashed in a 1:07.295s to go 0.424s faster than di Grassi.

Last but not least, Vandoorne took aim at his second career pole position in his rookie season, almost matching Buemi in the first sector. The middle sector was on par with the Swiss as well, but an error at the final corner meant the Belgian was unable to capitalise and had to settle for second.

After Super Pole

1) Buemi 1:07.295s
2) Vandoorne +0.398s
3) di Grassi +0.424s
4) Paffett +0.488s
5) Lynn +0.554s
6) Sims +0.722s

The result means a 13th career pole position for Buemi, while it was a good day for German manufacturers with both HWA Racelabs in the top six, along with the Audi of di Grassi and the BMW of Sims.

As far as the championship contenders are concerned, series leader Vergne settled for P9 on the grid while teammate Lotterer props up the field in 22nd and last. Frijns will join Lotterer on the back row of the grid, while da Costa looks sets to get his title challenge back on track in P8.

About Topher Smith
Topher is an experienced and passionate Motorsport journalist with Formula E, Formula 1, GP2/F2, GP3 and IndyCar all on his resume. When he isn't at the trackside you can find him furthering his own capabilities and knowledge through his endless search for original ideas and material. Also plays league pool.